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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 23, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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good evening. it's a very difficult night and dangerous night here in joplin, missouri. the death toll, as you know, is 116 but that number, frankly, is likely to rise. the number of missing at this hour is simply not known. it's impossible at this point to know. we're going to try to talk to the mayor of joplin in a few moments to get the latest information we can. there's a lot to tell you about. now, the affected areas have been declared a disaster area by president obama. there are crews out even now still looking for people who may be alive, still trapped in the rubble. and the rubble is all around us. it goes for miles. as far as the eye can see. the location i'm at, it is just completely destroyed
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neighborhoods, block after block. all you see on the horizon are broken and bent and destroyed trees. there is lightning in the air. a heavy downpour of rain, which has been going on and off throughout the day, which has been making the search and rescue operations all the more difficult. and now night has fallen. again, there very well may be people still alive under the rubble some 28 hours after this tornado struck. this disaster is still very much ongoing. this isn't something that happened 28 hours ago, a single event. you still have driving rain, bad weather and people who still may be alive out there. at least seven people have been found alive in the rubble so far. the searchers will continue. more bad weather is expected tomorrow. again, it is not going to get any easier in the hours ahead. we have complete coverage tonight for the full hour here from joplin, missouri. i want to show you the picture of a young man named will norton, who is missing right now.
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he was driving in his hummer h3 with his father shortly after graduation ceremonies from the high school here when the storm hit. he was actually sucked out of the vehicle by the power of this storm. he's been missing all day. his family, obviously, has been desperate. we've gotten late word now just in the last couple hours he has been -- he is alive. he has been found alive. he is in a hospital, we're told, but we don't know -- we don't know where the hospital is. we're going to get the latest information from his family in a few minutes. i want to show you first what we have seen over the last 28 hours here, what the storm looked like when it hit and the aftermath. let's take a look. >> reporter: it's 5:40 on sunday evening and a monster rakes across joplin, missouri. >> strong tornado! strong tornado! >> listen to it! oh, man! [ bleep ] get in the car! get in the [ bleep ] car!
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get in the car! watch out. >> i can't film. i can't film. >> i got it. i got it. i got it. i got it. i got it. >> stop, stop, stop, stop. >> move your head. >> i got it on video. >> oh, man! >> stop, stop. stop the car. >> we want to stay with it. >> oh, we got lightning. >> let's go back. come on. let's turn around. >> oh, it's getting big, big, big. >> that's huge. >> i got it all on video. i got it all on video. >> reporter: as the twister roars toward this convenience store -- >> no, they haven't yet. the sirens aren't going. >> reporter: -- frightened customers huddle in terror inside a dark refrigerated storeroom. >> dad! dad! dad!
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>> heavenly father. jesus, jesus. >> [ bleep ]. >> jesus, jesus. >> we're good. we're good. >> we're okay. we're okay. it's -- >> i think we're going to do it. >> jesus! heavenly father! jesus! jesus, jesus, jesus! o heavenly father! jesus, jesus, jesus, heavenly father. >> i love everyone, man. >> love all you guys. >> we're going to be okay. >> i love you. >> jesus, jesus, jesus, heavenly father.
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>> we're okay. >> thank you, jesus. >> we're okay. >> come on, guys. >> we're all right! we're all right! >> reporter: amazingly, everyone inside survives. >> i got debris on the ground right here. debris on the ground. >> reporter: the massive tornado believed to be three-quarters of a mile wide with winds exceeding 190 miles an hour rips a path of destruction four miles long right through the heart of the city. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: by monday morning the devastation was clear. buildings on fire. entire neighborhoods wiped out. st. john's medical center with 183 patients took a direct hit. it was unclear if any of the patients were injured during the storm, but the twister hurled x-rays as far as 70 miles, heaved gurneys for blocks and smashed the building's facade. >> windows are blown out. debris hanging outside of the windows. part of the roof -- the top is missing.
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i mean, i'm standing behind the hospital and cinder block walls, brick walls, are just crumbled. >> reporter: the tornado also struck joplin high school, just as seniors were finishing graduation ceremonies nearby. parents and students escaped but the school was demolished. >> i walked around as much as i could to see it. it looks like it's just been bombed from the outside-in. i mean, it's terrible. >> reporter: the storm left cars and trucks on top of each other. this walmart, now flattened, this home depot crushed. we don't know how many shoppers were inside the store. when the twister hit. thankfully residents did have warning the storm was coming. >> by our count we had 17 minutes time from the sirens and first report of a strike. >> reporter: more than 24 hours later, this remains a search and rescue effort. >> we believe there are still rescues out there. we want to support the men and women that are on the ground out there literally going foot by foot, searching for folks. >> reporter: more than 1500
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emergency response workers from four states have descended on this city of more than 50,000, trying to find survivors who may be trapped amid the destruction, which spreads for miles. it's just been incredible here the last 28 hours. i want to show you the picture of will norton. his sister sarah and aunt tracy join me now. you got word that he -- that he was found, but you don't know where he is now. what's the latest? >> the latest word, we heard he was checked into the hospital. he was alive when he was checked in in joplin, at freeman. then they transferred him. but we're not sure where he's transferred. when he was transferred, he was alive. we have no idea other than that. there's been -- >> you don't know what condition he's in? >>, no we have no idea. >> sir, tell me what happened. you were on the foeven with him coming back from the graduation ceremony that he had just graduated high school. what happened? >> i was riding with my mom, we were in a separate car. we were about 30 second in front of them, one block. we pulled into the garage, trees started blowing in. we immediately got our dog, went into the basement and then my
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dad called and he said, open the garage door. he didn't know it was so serious. and then i just heard him say, pull over, will. pull over. and then they started flipping. >> they were in a hummer? >> yes, hummer h3. >> what happened to will? >> well, my dad said -- when my dad gained consciousness, he said that he saw my brother -- his seat belt snapped and he was ejected through the sun roof. >> he was ripped through the sun roof? >> yes. that's what my dad says, yeah. >> how is your dad? >> he's in stable condition. he has broken bones and, you know, he got 20 staples in his head but he's stable. thank goodness we found him. >> where did you hear will had been found? >> well, we -- there's a -- there's a find will norton on facebook, a page, and people have been writing on there, people have been hold of sarah and our family and telling different things. every time we hear a lead, we obviously go find it. and then sarah was told today that someone -- by another lead, that one of the doctors saw him on the er roster, that he was checked in before my brother
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came to the hospital. but then he was also checked out. he was alive with when he was here. >> people are being moved around to different hospitals so it's very hard to find people and cell phone communication is very difficult. is that his hat? >> yeah. the hummer was destroyed. it was in really, really bad shape, and so my family, we went and we found it so we went back together and we've been searching with search and rescue team out of tulsa, oklahoma, with their dogs. my son found this in the car. this is actually his cap. >> he had just graduated? >> he had just graduated within 30 minutes. >> and he's going to go to film school in the fall? >> yes, he was accepted to chatman in orange, california. >> we're showing his picture now. i want to put out information. if anybody has any information of where to find him, there's a couple of numbers. there's the and then a phone number we're putting on the screen right now. 757-751-will. that's 757-751-will.
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>> what we need to know is we really need to have people, if they've seen him at a hospital, if they've seen him anywhere, he most likely has had head trauma and probably had some facial lacerations. i know going through glass sun roof, so he probably doesn't look exactly like that. but he is 5 -- he's 6'4" and he's slender, brown hair, blue eyes, slight freckles on his face and on his arms. >> how are you guys holding up? >> we're just it step by step. we're doing everything we can to find him. we're trying to get the word out saying, have you seen my brother? just taking it moment by moment. >> we'll continue to put the picture up throughout the hour and try to put the numbers up as well. i wish you luck. we'll keep in touch with you. we'll touch base with you in the morning. >> i want to make sure we thank all the help that has come. we've had some great people. a friend who got out there and helped getting the tulsa rescue. they brought their dogs in, we've had first responders from webb city. it's amazing how many people have come to our community to help.
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actually, we've had contact with a lot of them. they've helped us so far. >> yeah. people are really pulling together. i mean, it's -- >> yeah, it's incredible. >> it is incredible. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. again, we'll continue to follow will's story throughout this hour, throughout the next hours. a lot ahead to cover. we'll talk to the mayor of joplin to get the latest on how many people may be missing and how many people may be in shelters tonight and what needs are the greatest right now. >> take a look at this >> take a look at this neighborhood. all i can say is it looks very reminiscent of what we saw last month in -- excuse me -- in tuscaloosa. ♪
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>> i am! >> some of the images we saw from earlier. we're with mayor mike woolston, mayor of joplin. at this point 116 is still the death toll? >> correct. >> 17 people have been pulled alive? >> that number sounds accurate. i don't have anything that's real accurate. i know the 116 we have confirmed and i do know we found earlier about seven folks today. but the number 17 is a fresh number for me. >> that's certainly good news. >> oh, certainly. >> they're going to find more people. i mean, it seems there should be more people out there alive. >> we hope there are people out there alive, certainly. we have a number of apartment buildings, complexes that are
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completely flanted and we anticipate finding more people. >> are search and rescue going on at night or are conditions -- >> we've had them going on, especially last night. this evening we wanted to get the first search through the last grids. and then pulled people back in because of the lightning, the storms and having two people struck today we were leary of others getting injured. >> you've had two police officers actually struck by lightning? >> correct. >> so, that's a real concern. the weather is hampering -- >> yes, it is. it's my understanding it will be thursday before we'll have decent weather we can get out and work. >> this is an incredible tight knit community. there are shelters but you're seeing most taken in by others -- >> taken in by others and strangers. we haven't had a huge number in the shelters. you can look through here. we think 2,000 structures are effected and one would think at even 1 1/2 persons per you can look through here. we think 2,000 structures are effected and one would think at even 1 1/2 persons per structure, you would have 3,000 people. with less than 100 in shelters
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we know they have to be taken in somewhere out there. >> what's the greatest need? what's top of your priority right now? >> just carrying on our search and rescue functions. we've had about 40 agencies come in to help us, well over 400 people. those numbers are from early this morning. we've got sema folks, fema folks in, the governor was in town today, and i understand while he was here he spoke with white house, vice president biden, so we've been offered assistance by virtually every agency. >> the outpouring of people coming in to help is remarkable. a lot of neighborhoods you see crews have been through there efficiently putting xs on if nothing was found. >> correct. we tried to work through as many grids as we could to -- as efficiently and quickly to make sure we got to people as quickly as we could. we'll be going back through those again to make sure we're getting anybody that might still be there. >> you've been mayor now, for, what -- >> 13 months. >> when you look at this, i mean, what -- what do you first
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see? what does the future hold? >> well, this is just not the type of community that's going to let a little f-4 tornado kick our ass so we will rebuild and we will recover. >> this is not going to kick your ass? >> no, it's not. we've been here before. it's been a long time since we had one this bad. the destruction wasn't as bad as that. we'll rebuild again this time. >> have you seen anything like this? >> i haven't seen anything this bad, no. >> what do you want people watching around the world, frankly, to know? >> just your thoughts and prayers are helpful for us, particularly those families affected with fatalities. we've got, as i said, all kinds of donations coming in, all kind of volunteers coming forward to help out. you know, we just appreciate the thoughts and prayers of everybody that might see this. >> i passed by a church over there a couple blocks. it's totally destroyed but the cross is still standing, which is -- >> maybe that's a sign. >> mayor, i appreciate your time. i know you've been busy. thanks. appreciate it. a lot going on. let's talk to chad myers. chad, the weather is just brutal. it's been brutal all day.
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as the mayor was talking about, we're worried about tomorrow. >> no question about tomorrow night. and even for you, anderson, after dark. the most dangerous type of tornadoes. now, for right now, things are going to get better. literally in the next ten minutes, your rain stops. probably you'll see the stars in about an hour and a half. it's over for joplin. things get better there. and i know search and rescue is probably put on hold for the darkness but at least it's not raining now. maybe that's a little respite for some people. we've had severe weather from north carolina tonight, just south of hampton roads and across the bridge, to almost new york city. a tornado was on the ground north of allentown, pennsylvania, for a while, about an hour and a half ago. severe weather across cleveland, up into ontario. severe weather rolled through columbus with damage, cincinnati where with wind damage. now i'm talking about six states already will. we're going to keep going because the most severe weather today was kansas, missouri, oklahoma, even into parts of texas. this is where it's going to fire up again tomorrow.
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there's your weather right there, anderson. you are right there. it's just about over for you. literally, 15 minutes and you're done. now for tomorrow, the sun heats up again. all this rain goes away. but there's all that humidity that this rain brought down. the sun is going to warm the ground. the humidity will evaporate. it's going to be one sweltering mess across the midwest tomorrow afternoon. and then in the afternoon and late evening hours, something ejects from colorado into parts of new mexico and into texas. this is an upper level low that's going to make all this warm air want to rise in the atmosphere. when warm air wants to rise, you get bubbling clouds. there will be severe weather with significant tornadoes. we had ten tornadoes today. but ten tornadoes that were small. big ones tomorrow. all the way through the midwest. back to you. >> so, chad, can you show us, chad, what this storm looked like when it hit?
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i mean, why was it so bad here? what -- how did it get so strong? >> well, the humidity was in place. that was the moisture. there was cold air above it. so, it's just like taking a hot air balloon and turning on the gas. that's what happened. j.j., go ahead and hit this. put this into motion. warm air at the surface. sun heated it up. then cold air up above. that cold air made the warm air want to go faster into the atmosphere and rose straight to 60,000 feet, anderson, in the sky. you could not fly over that cell yesterday. then it began to spin. as super cells do, when they're by themselves, they want to spin and it happened. then just literally five miles west of joplin, this tornado got to the ground. very small to start with. but then rapidly bigger. literally not even time to see how big it was because at some point in time during this day, it got so -- they got so much humidity in the air, this turned into a storm that's called wrapped in rain.
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we'll talk about this probably tomorrow as well. because we're going to have more wrapped in rain storms. it was raining here and raining all around the tornado so you couldn't see the damage being thrown up. you couldn't see the debris being thrown up. all you could see is a wall of rain and people thought it was just raining. they tried to take pictures and they got in the way and 116 people lost their lives. >> yeah, chad, we just talked to sarah norton whose brother will -- they're trying to get information where he might be. she had a cellar in their home. you look at a lot of these neighborhoods, where we are now, there's no cellar, just the concrete foundation. there was no place for some people to go. i mean, you need to be underground to get through something like this if you're directly hit. >> there's no question that there's not a structure built, that i know of, other than a safe house built by safe house companies, that can withstand a 200-mile-an-hour wind. not just a gust. a sustained wind of 200 miles
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per hour. people were huddled in their houses, under their steps, in the right places. but there are not very many basements in joplin, so they were taken away, when that debris was pushed away by the wind, they were pushed away with it. and that trauma of literally being hit by the inside of your house, that's where most people died. i think 95% of everybody out there did the right thing. they had 20 minutes' notice. they were inside. but some tornadoes you can't survive them. they're too big. >> yeah. chad, appreciate all the update. it's all good information. such important information. when you're on the ground here it's really hard to get information for people here, i mean, the cell phone service is spotty, at best. a lot of people don't have access to e-mail. you know, whatever little information people can get, it is very helpful. we'll talk with chad again a lot in the next 24 hours as we track these storms that are anticipated. we're talking about not having those underground basements in a lot of places. people hiding wherever they
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could. when we come back we'll introduce to you a young man who hid in the -- basic a refrigerated storeroom of a convenience store. take a look. too much on your plate?
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>> we've seen so many remarkable pictures that have come out in the last 28 hours or so since this storm hit. probably one of the most are remarkable is video taken on an iphone by a young man who was with two of his friends driving along when they saw the storm was coming, they ran basically into a convenience store, into the storeroom in the back. i want to show you what they saw. it's very dark. but there were about 20 -- 18 or so, 20 other people in the storeroom with them. you can really hear the emotions on people as they -- as the storm hit and as it approached. let's listen in. >> it's okay. >> i think we're going to do it. >> jesus!
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>> everybody get down! >> jesus! jesus! o heavenly father! jesus, jesus. >> i love everyone. i love everyone, man. >> yeah, love all you guys. >> we're going to be okay. >> i love you. >> jesus, jesus, jesus, heavenly father. thank you, jesus. >> are you okay? >> yeah. >> everybody okay? >> we're all right! we're all right! >> all right. >> stay down. stay down! >> everybody -- >> is everyone okay? >> i'm here. i'm okay. >> all right. >> okay. i'm trying not to lay on someone. >> somebody's on my back. >> it's okay. >> it's okay. we're okay. >> am i on anybody? ma'am? >> this is under me. >> we're okay.
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we're okay. >> you okay? >> you guys okay? >> is anyone under me, though? is anyone under me? >> we don't know. >> unbelievable video. i'm with isaac duncan, brendan and cory waterman. you actually shot the video on your iphone. >> yeah. >> tell me, you go to the back of the storeroom. you know the storm is coming. you pull over to the convenience store and the front door was locked, right? zoo yeah, we pulled over to the closest thing we could find, which was the gas station. so, we got out, sprinted up to the door and they had locked it. the door wouldn't fling up. we pounded on the door and the clerk came up and unlocked it and we hurried back to the back -- >> how many people were in there at the time? >> probably about 18. >> how quickly was it that the storm hit? >> within -- what would you say, probably a minute? the other person ran up to the door -- the clerk ran up, as the storm was getting really close, and unlocked the door for him
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and saved three people more that ran in. and then within 30 seconds of that, we were all down in the back and the glass was just blowing out of the entire front of the store. >> brendan, what was it like for you? what did it sound like? >> it sounded like 100 freight trains running close to the building. it started to cave in and the first thing i noticed was the smell of gasoline outside. that freaked everybody out. >> you were worried a fire might break out? >> yeah. toward the end when we decided to climb out, you could smell smoke outside so we decide it was time to get away from the building at that point. >> how long did it last for? >> oh, you know, three or four minutes of like, you know, bad, bad hail and debris and, like, that second part where it hits is so -- the sound, the force of that is so loud, that you know, you're just hanging on. >> was there a moment you thought you wouldn't make it >> yeah. we came to terms with that together for a second and huddle with everybody and it was like -- it was a good thing. >> and what goes through your mind when you're experiencing
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something like that? >> honestly, it was very surreal. like, i'd never felt anything like it. it was almost a weird calmness. like, i didn't think i was going to go out in a tornado but i think i'm probably going to -- >> you were thinking that? >> oh, yeah. i mean, there were people -- people were getting, you know, screaming out to jesus, people -- some people were just -- >> in the end it sounds like you're not sure if somebody's underneath you? >> what happened is we all sprinted into this little cooler and packed 20 people in it, so, i mean, there was not enough -- >> how big was the space? >> ten feet by, probably, you know, seven feet. it wasn't big at all. >> so, you guys are all pushed up against each other? >> on top of each other. >> and beer and all the shelves of all the items falling on people and glass is breaking. >> lots of beer was breaking and everyone was getting cut by the glass. basically the only thing that was remaining from the entire building was the cooler we had jumped in. you know, a big part of that was the clerk at the store.
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i mean, he was addition he -- not only did he run up and unlock the door, but he was the last person into the refrigerator. i mean, he's a hero. that guy -- >> did you get his name? >> i can't -- >> i didn't catch it. >> honestly, i don't think i would recognize anyone that i experienced it with. >> other than the clerk. >> if we run into him i'll know him because he's cool. great guy. >> yeah. he was a hero that day. >> so, when you leave, and i mean, it has to be surreal when you walk outside and you see what you've survived. >> well, we sat there for probably 20 minutes kind of deciding what to do because everything had collapsed on us. so, cory went to the back and a wall that had fallen down, he climbed out. i went next and we pulled everyone out. when we got out to the side, you could see all the gas from the gas station was starting to run out and you smelled electric fires. so, everyone kind of -- >> what made you decide to turn your iphone on and record? >> i just record everything.
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i don't know. >> if this is it, you might as well record it? >> might as well. >> i'm so glad you made it and great thinking to record it. so thank you so much. really appreciate it. >> thank you for having us. >> one of the great reporters who was first on the scene from the weather channel, a guy named mike bettes. i want to show you some of what he saw when he first came in. >> reporter: people are looking for loved ones, family members. if you take a look at this neighborhood, all i can tell you it looks very reminiscent of what we saw last month in -- excuse me -- in tuscaloosa. yeah, it -- it's tough.
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yeah, it -- it's tough. no question about that. >> mike bettes joins us from the weather channel. you got here ten minutes after the storm? >> just minutes. truly. we were actually chasing for the past two weeks, the project with the weather channel and this is a storm we targeted. that afternoon we were driving from kansas city and it said, joplin looks like a pretty good spot today for storms. we intercepted this storm about ten miles outside of joplin. at the time, it didn't look that impressive to be honest with you. it passed over the top of us. it was a pretty good thunderstorm but no tornado. and then as soon as it went
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passed we decided we would follow it. at that time it was hail, rain, blinding, we ended up having to stop. if we hadn't stopped, i think we would have ended up our whole crew in joplin. the thing probably would have run over the top of us. we're thankful for our crew nothing happened to us. we came into town. it was just a chaotic scene when we came into town. >> you've seen -- mean, obviously you've done this a long time and you've covered just about every kind of storm. how does this compare? >> nothing like it. i've covered hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it, i've seen damage like this before but not to this extent. maybe a block or two. this goes on for miles and miles and miles. the number of people injured in the hundreds, the number of people killed, it hits home for a lot of people. you can't help -- >> it was very emotional for you. >> it was, it was. a lot of times i would say we're numb to these events because we see them so often but there was a moment where i just took a look at how much of this town had been destroyed and there were people crying, people hugging. it just -- at some point it gets to you. and i think i got a little choked up. and just one of those moments you couldn't control. >> it's also known -- i mean, we've had a day of just terrible weather here that's made it all the worse. i mean, sometimes, you know,
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these storms disappear and suddenly it's a sunny day and people can come home and look for their belongings, search for their loved ones but here you've this had driving rain, lightning, two law enforcement officers hit by lightning. >> it's difficult for people. there's a process to move on, and this has hindered that. so many people are out and they want to get home, recover some items and they can't do it and just prolongs the agony for that much longer. but i think we know there are probably going to be more people pulled from the rubble. i think the serve and rescue has gone on for longer than they wanted it to because of the weather. there's still a real danger out there even though the storm has passed. >> they're trying to search some grids but they're going to pull back, get these guys some rest and -- >> they work these long hours. a lot of guys are working 12 on/12 off, under extreme conditions. emotionally, physically it's very difficult for them. and i think for the whole town in general, i think they're shell-shocked still. it's going to be -- >> tomorrow night more severe
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weather. >> yeah. this goes on for another day and a half, two days until maybe thursday they see sunshine again. may go a long way for the psyche in helping them recover that way. tough to see what has gone on here. it's truly been remarkable. >> i know you've been up a long time. i appreciated you coming by, mike bettes from the weather channel. we'll talk to a woman from the red cross who was on the highway when this storm hit. her story is just incredible. she saw a tractor-trailer truck flying by her, helped save a guy. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪
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bad. oh, my gosh. this is awful. this is -- look at that. that is destroyed, completely. >> okay. >> where are you going? what are you doing? what are you doing? well, i'm freaking out, too. this is ridiculous. look at that. i don't know where -- >> this was an f-4 or f-5. >> this was -- dude, the trees, the trees are debarked! >> we're starting to get more and more images of when the storm actually hit. we've seen, you know, the results of it all day long. and in a lot of communities, i mean, it really is as far as the eye can see. this storm was about three-quarters of a mile wide, went for about four miles. so, in an area like this, which it's dark now, that's the
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hospital back there, which got a direct hit but this entire neighborhood, i mean, as far as the eye can see, all the way around, 360 degrees, it's completely -- completely destroyed. there's people's possessions all around. this is a postcard i found on the floor right here. you can't see who it's from. this is obviously the remains of somebody's home. you know, as always, it sort of takes a while to figure out what you're looking at. this is the floor of the house, the carpet, the shag carpet is still there. this is actually -- was one of the walls. the only way you can kind of tell is because there's an electrical socket. but that wall is gone. that wall has been just pushed over onto some other kind of a wall on the other side of it. again, this is just one house. as we were talking about with chad before, in a neighborhood like this, there aren't a lot of basements so it's just the concrete slab foundation, so people living in a home like this didn't have a lot of places to hide in the home itself. they maybe were able to go somewhere else.
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we haven't been able to talk to the people who are here and i don't want to walk around because i don't want to walk on their property. i want to introduce marie colby with the american red cross. you were actually on the highway driving a car when the storm hit, right? >> yeah. i was on the highway, turned off onto the interstate. i was trying to get under an overpass, try to get some protection. we started seeing debris flying around. we saw this whole wall of debris coming right at us. >> there was somebody -- a young man who came to -- hiding with you? >> yeah. there was a guy who was in a car behind us. we got out of his car and tried to lay down in the ditch. when the rain came, it started to wash him away. he stood up, got hit by a couple pieces of debris and came and started pounding on the side of my door, trying to get in. the wind was so strong we couldn't open the door until the eye of the tornado got there. >> incredible. >> we were able to open it, pull him in before the rest of the tornado really hit. >> a tractor-trailer truck got flipped?
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>> yeah, several tractor-trailers. one right in front of us that just flipped over. lifted up completely off the ground and slammed down on its side. the trucker was standing inside the front of his cab. he managed to undo his seat belt somehow and right after the tornado went by, i got out and ran up to the cab and he was just standing there on basically his window. and he couldn't get out. so, i ended up pulling off the windshield of the truck -- >> you pulled off the windshield of the truck? >> yeah. it had broken loose when the truck smashed down so we grabbed the windshield wiper that were still moving, for some reason, and pulled the windshield down off so he could get out. >> and you basically went to start volunteering with the red cross? >> yeah. at that point i -- the highway patrolman put a guy in the back of my car and said he needed medical care and we took him up to a triage site. and then i have been volunteering for the red cross
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for a while, and needed to try to find where everything was being set up. couldn't get a whole lot of information. cell phones weren't working. we ended up walking clear across town through the debris up to the office. >> is this the first sort of disaster like this that you've actually worked on for the red cross? >> i worked a few disasters. nothing like this. certainly, not -- i've never been in -- where i'm living and had my home destroyed, had all my friends -- >> your home is destroyed? >> yeah, my apartment is gone. >> have you been able to get any possessions or anything? >> i was able to go up to my apartment for a little bit today. and it's not even safe to go inside. the roof's completely off. there's just walls that are missing. there's sections -- it's up on the third floor. there's no way to get into it. it's part of the building that's completely missing. >> you're still volunteering even though your own home is destroyed and you may not be get your possessions. >> yeah. it gives me something to do. gives me a way to help the community, help people around me, the people i care about.
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i know that everything that i am doing to help people, i'm going to get the exact same aid, the same help, compassion, back from them. >> that's really cool. >> it's -- it's kind of a way of helping rebuild and coming together as a community. >> i mean, you know, if you've suffered a loss yourself, to be able to -- i mean, to have the strength to not be mired in your own loss but to reach out and help others, that's extraordinary. >> i really think it's more just what we have to do. at this point there's nothing we can do but move forward. and try to pick up the pieces and go with what we have, be thankful we're here, we're alive and we've got each other. and everything else really is just stuff. >> what do you think the greatest needs are right now? i mean, obviously people can donate to the american red cross. there's a 1-800 number, 1-800-red-cross, right? >> yes, or people can get to the red cross website,, they can text, instructions for that online. really, there's a lot of
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different ways people can help. the biggest need right now is truly in financial donations. we've had an overwhelming outpouring of material donations. we need now to get some financial donations to be able to help people, start piecing back together their lives. >> it's an honor to meet you. thanks for all you're doing. i appreciate it. i'm sure a lot of people here appreciate it. >> thank you. >> marie colby, one of the volunteers for the american red cross. when we come back we'll show you some of the most horrifying, terrifying moments from the storm and the aftermath. [ male announcer ] a word of warning to piggy banks... pants pockets... and anyone, anywhere who would hide our precious coins. we're coming for what's ours. maybe you didn't hear. but dimes, nickels, even pennies have power now. because the volt charges for about a buck fifty a day.
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let's check in with joe johns. >> anderson, heavy new air strikes on libya, more than a dozen targeting tripoli. smoke seen rising near moammar gadhafi's compound. regime spokesman saying bombs hit a facility for military volunteers, killing three and wounding 150. president obama began a six-day trip to europe in ireland today. an estimated 25,000 people turned out for his speech in dublin's college green. he also visited the village of moneygall where one of his great, great, great grandfathers is believed to have been born. looked like he was having a lot of fun but he had to fly to london, his next stop, early because of iceland's erupting volcano. volcanic ash is spreading and
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could reach brit air space tomorrow. iceland's most active volcano started erupting saturday after nearly a seven-year lull. iceland closed its air space over the weekend. wnbc in new york is reporting a dna sample from former imf chief dominique strauss-khan has been matched to material found on the shirt of the hotel maid he's accused of sexually assaulting. strauss-khan is under house arrest in new york. his lawyers have denied the charges and they say there's no evidence of a forced encounter. worries over europe's debt problems drove stocks down today. the dow plunged 131 points. the s&p 500 and nasdaq also fell. anderson? >> we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work,
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